Review: This is a powerful book, with a very strong first half, and a second half that drags in comparison. Room tells the story of Ma and five-year-old Jack. Jack and Ma are held captive and live in a very small room. Jack narrates the book, and he just really annoyed me. I get it, he’s five years old, but it was a little much (which I think was the point). The brilliance though of having the story told with Jack’s perspective, is that it leaves Ma as a bit of a mystery, and you get pieces of her story here and there, making this book one that you should pay attention to as you read. So, as much as Jack annoyed me (too much focus on breastfeeding, and he just never slowed down!) I think it was a smart choice of narrator. I don’t think we’d get the sense of mystery and wonder if we had Ma narrate.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot, which is why I didn’t type a synopsis up, but there are two distinct parts to this book, with a section in the middle that is absolutely spellbinding. While I was reading this middle section my heart was pounding and I wanted to reach through the book and help Jack. I read this book fairly quickly, as I just couldn’t stop reading! It is extremely well written.
But even though I enjoyed the writing, I didn’t particularly care for the book. Like I said earlier, Jack annoyed me. He just had so much energy and reading his thoughts just made me exhausted. I think this was the point, to further emphasize the energy trapped in Room and Ma’s lack of escape. I wanted to know more about Ma, but this is really Jack’s story.
I mentioned above that there are two distinct parts to the book. The first part is the better section. The writing is tight and claustrophobic, with a sense of danger and tension everywhere. The second part of Room drags. And drags. It was still a quick read, but I was increasingly frustrated in the last parts of the book. In the first half, I was annoyed with Jack, and with the second half, I was frustrated with other characters and their behavior.
This was made into a movie fairly recently, with Brie Larson, who plays Ma, winning the Oscar for Best Actress. I really enjoyed the character of Ma in the book, she is one tough, strong woman, and so I’m really looking forward to seeing the movie. I’m actually thinking that the movie may turn out better than the book. Gasp! Can it be so?! I hope to watch it soon and if I do I’ll write up a From Page To Screen review. I also think that this would be an excellent book club choice.
Bottom Line: Powerful, and a quick read, but annoying. Drags towards the end. I have high hopes for the movie.